With spring sports canceled, the University of Montana’s sports information department is checking in on some of its idled athletes to ask, “Where you at, how you doing?”
Featured in this edition is Anne Mari Petrino, UM softball player and daughter of University of Idaho football coach Paul Petrino.
Q: Where you at, how you doing?
AMP: I am in Pullman, Washington, with my family and my fiancé (Griz football player Trase Le Texier). We’re all here. In a weird way, it’s kind of nice being with all my family, my people. That part of it has been good.
Q: Your dad, Paul, is the head football coach at Idaho. What is it like living with a coach who should be starting spring football and can’t?
AMP: They didn’t get to even start spring ball, so he’s been a little anxious. He’s a little stir-crazy. He’s missing his players and the routine, just like we all are. He had been sneaking into his office but they just shut down the (Kibbie Dome). Nobody is allowed to go into the dome any longer. He’s created a home office in our basement and spends most of the day down there.
Q: What is the mood like in the Pullman-Moscow area without college sports?
AMP: People are missing sports. The mood is down. Both towns are shut down except for essential businesses. Doctor, pharmacy, grocery store, take-out. It’s just kind of deserted in a weird way. Kind of a gloomy mood. The new football coach at Washington State is our neighbor and then the athletic director at Washington State is another neighbor. Their spring ball was supposed to start too. We talk from our curbsides. Everyone is just kind of missing sports and the routine of things. It’s also been kind of cool. I’ve seen all these families playing outside with their kids. People have been more active.
Q: You were scheduled to play at Idaho State over the weekend, then make your home debut at Grizzly Softball Field on Wednesday afternoon before hosting Southern Utah. Do you find yourself following the schedule and wondering what could have been or are you getting over it?
AMP: I still catch myself looking at the calendar. We would have just played Idaho State and probably just be getting back. Or, it’s 2:30, I’d be practicing right now. Stuff like that.
Q: The NCAA is discussing today the possibility of giving some student-athletes, particularly those in the spring sports, the option of another year of eligibility. What are your plans and would anything change those plans?
AMP: I’ve been accepted into law school at Gonzaga. I was also accepted at Oregon and Nebraska, but I decided on Gonzaga. I got a really good scholarship there. So the plan was to enroll in law school come fall. I worked pretty hard to get that all squared away so that once the season was over, I’d have a pretty seamless transition into the next phase of my life. I’d need to hear what they have to say. There would be so many things that would have to be worked out, but I would listen. Are we still going to have our scholarship? How is Montana going to afford all of that? I’d hear them out, but for the most part I’d probably stick to my plan.
Q: What kind of emotional rollercoaster have you been on the past few weeks?
AMP: I tried to stay hopeful. I was hanging on to that sliver of hope that we would get to finish the season. Once we were told we were done, I was pretty heartbroken. I’ve been struggling emotionally. I’m really grateful that I’m here with my family and my fiancé. That’s been great but I’ve been super sad. I’ve been devastated, with how special this team was, plus it being my last season and all of that coming to a halt. Finally, my parents were like, all right, we need to get you on a schedule. You can’t lie around all day, which I had been. I’ve been trying to get outside and do my schoolwork and get into a routine, but it’s been hard. This last week I’ve finally started doing stuff.
Q: How nice has it been to have people around you who really understand athletics and know what it’s like to lose a season?
AMP: I don’t know if a lot of people understand the whole team aspect and how much you put into your sport and how much you devote yourself to that. When that comes to a halt, especially when it’s your senior season, that’s what’s made it so sad. They’ve been so awesome, so I’m thankful for them.
Q: It took a full day for you to return a text message to set up this interview. Have you been avoiding your phone?
AMP: That first week of sadness, I was scrolling through social media the whole day. I was like, I can’t do this, so I’ve been leaving my phone in my room. I’ve been reading more and going outside and exercising, and I’ve just felt way better. That first week I was on my phone all day, every day, and I don’t think it was good for my mental health. Twitter can be not very positive right now. I try to limit my phone now. All the people I really need to talk to are in my house.
Q: How has this impacted your brother, Mason, and your younger sister, Ava?
AMP: My brother (a former quarterback at Idaho) started as a graduate assistant at Lamar University (in Beaumont, Texas) right after the new year. He came home for spring break, and that’s when everything went crazy. They told him not to come back for now. So he’s in the office with my dad in our basement. He’s doing his graduate school and his football work remotely. My sister, poor thing. She’s in the seventh grade and trying to do all her classes online. As a college student it’s pretty easy to transition. For a seventh grader, it’s kind of challenging, being away from her friends and tackling the whole online school thing. It’s been an adjustment for sure.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face these days?
AMP: First it was getting over the loss of the season and handling all those emotions. Now it’s trying to stay motivated for school and to keep working out and staying healthy and eating healthy. Losing the season was losing all my best friends. We were together every day. Now we’re all separated. It was difficult losing the season and losing all your best friends at the same time, without almost any warning.
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